November 30: Tips For Gift-Giving

Every Wednesday, I’ll (try) to post up a Simple Living Tip, with an emphasis on tips that can be done while living a more traditional 9-to-5 life.

In my ideal world, everyone on my Christmas list would want exactly the same thing or variations of the exact same thing (candles for all!) and that “perfect” item would be reasonably priced or on sale.  Obviously this isn’t the case.  And I’m not the best person to give gift-giving advice.  I often forget special occasions and I have set very low expectations with family and friends in this area.  See this post for clarification

However, even I hold on to the notion of finding that perfect gift, which makes me procrastinate and adds unnecessary stress during the holiday season.  If you’re a busy 9-to-5’er like me, how do you simplify gift-giving?

Here are some ideas:

  1. Look at Gift Guides: Many websites and catalogues put together a suggested Gift List based on recipients and sometimes price levels.  I find J. Crew’s guide very useful though pricey.  If you don’t want to stick to one company or store, a lot of magazines, blogs (and websites) compile gift lists from several sources.  Francophile? Looking for something unique?  Lots of kids, nephews or nieces? Gifts for do-gooders? On a budget?  There are gift guides and ideas out there for everybody.
  2. Just pull the trigger and buy:  All too often, I have a good gift idea but I hesitate to buy just in case I think of something better. Before you know it, it’s the last weekend before Christmas and I have to run to the mall.
  3. Speaking of malls, think outside the box for gifts: You can avoid the malls altogether by looking for gift options elsewhere.  There are some nice items at Starbucks or grocery stores.   This will help you avoid one of the major holiday stressors: crowds and parking lots!
  4. Give Food: Everyone loves to eat, right? I’m not talking about the generic cheese  and cracker basket.  You can select one based on a person’s preference whether it’s for Italian foods, vegan, meats, fruits or something more exotic. To personalize it more, throw in a cookbook or recipe.
  5. Magazine Subscriptions:  There are magazines for every possible area of interest from cat lovers to fashion to cars.  The recipient will get a monthly reminder of your thoughtfulness!
  6. Nothing Wrong with Gift cards (or cold hard cash): I think many people don’t want to give cash so gift cards are a good substitute. In my family, it sometimes becomes a gift card exchange (here’s your Target gift card. thanks. here’s your Kohls gift card. thanks!) but it’s the thought that counts. Just be sure to pick a gift card from the recipient actually shops at that store!

Of course there are always “those people” who seem impossible to shop for yet want gifts.  My Dad is one of those.  I never have any idea what to give him…If you’re “one of those” who have everything you want or few hobbies, please do people a favor and give suggestions (if asked of course)!

Is holiday gift giving stressful for you? Do you try to find the perfect gift for people on your list? What are your favorite gift-giving shortcuts?

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